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Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming at A Polaris String Quartet Concert in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China: A Fusion of East and West
Chinese Embassy in the UK, 29 August 2019

Lord Mayor Alderman Peter Estlin,

Maestro Yu Long,

Madam Zhou Ping,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends:

Good evening!

Welcome to tonight’s concert at the Chinese Embassy. Let me begin by extending my warmest welcome to the musicians of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

2019 is a special year for China, for China-UK relationship and for Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. It marks

  • the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
  • the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-UK diplomatic relationship at the level of chargé d’affaires.
  • and it is the 140th anniversary of the founding of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

This is an important year for us to review the past and look to the future. Therefore, tonight’s concert has special significance. It carries three important messages:

The first message is all-around development.

Since the founding of New China, China’s development has been people-oriented and aimed at meeting people’s aspiration for a better life. While building a strong economy, China has also pursued balanced development in all aspects including in the area of culture.

The number of art groups in China has increased more than 17 times in 70 years. China now has 17,000 art groups, and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra is one of them. These art groups have made important contribution to enriching the Chinese people’s life, cultivating their taste in art, and promoting cultural and tourism industries in China.

If you ask Chinese tourists about their trip to Britain, they will probably tell you that a musical in West End, a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, or an opera or ballet at the Royal Opera House is a definite must-see in London.

The second message is exchange and mutual learning.

Exchange and mutual learning enrich civilisations. In China, more and more people have come to appreciate, even fall in love with, Western classical music. Many musicians of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra began their career in China as a student of Western music.

In recent years, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra did concert tours around the world, performing Western classics and Chinese masterpieces for international audiences.

Tonight’s concert is such a cultural and music feast, offering the best of both the East and West. I hope it will give everyone a glimpse of the charm of the Chinese civilization. I am sure it will be an excellent opportunity to appreciate the beauty of harmony between different civilisations.

The third message is win-win cooperation.

The world is undergoing profound development, transformation and adjustment. Peace, development and win-win cooperation remain the theme of our times.

Recent years have seen more and more Chinese artists and art groups coming to the UK. This month alone, there are more than 20 Chinese art groups performing at the Edinburgh Festivals. Many British art groups have also toured China and won the hearts of Chinese audience.

The ever-closer cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and the UK have enriched our people’s life. This is the best example of win-win cooperation.

I am confident that an ever-developing China will create broader prospects for our two countries to engage in more fruitful cooperation and deliver more benefits to the people of our two countries and beyond.

In conclusion, I wish tonight’s concert great success. And wish everyone an enjoyable evening!

Thank you!

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